Beatrice Webb

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An important and forceful left-wing intellectual (a shaper both of the Fabian Society and of the Labour Party ), BW wrote at the end of the nineteenth century and in the early twentieth century. Her subjects were social issues: for instance, unemployment, and the development of the co-operative movement and of trade unions. She was also (and from the same public-spirited motives) remarkable as a diarist and autobiographer. Almost all her writing on public topics (nearly forty publications, including eighteen monographs) was done in collaboration with her husband, Sidney Webb . So thoroughly are they thought of as one mind that joint biographies of them are more common than individual ones.
Black and white photograph of Beatrice Webb, seated with one arm resting on the arm of her chair. She is wearing a dark jacket with a light collar, and a polka-dotted tie. Her white hair is pulled back.
"Beatrice Webb" Retrieved from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Beatrice_Webb,_1943.jpg. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).

Milestones

22 January 1858
Beatrice Potter (later BW ) was born at Standish House in Gloucestershire.
Radice, Lisanne. Beatrice and Sidney Webb: Fabian Socialists. St Martin’s Press, 1984.
15
Caine, Barbara. Destined to Be Wives: The Sisters of Beatrice Webb. Clarendon, 1986.
14, 30
February 1886
Beatrice Potter (later BW ) first reached print with a letter to the Pall Mall Gazette, headed A Lady's View of Unemployment at the East, describing the Katherine Buildings in East London.
Matthew, Henry Colin Gray, Brian Harrison, and Lawrence Goldman, editors. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
1894
BW , in her first literary and scholarly collaboration with her husband Sidney , published The History of Trade Unionism.
Blain, Virginia, Patricia Clements, and Isobel Grundy, editors. The Feminist Companion to Literature in English: Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present. Yale University Press; Batsford, 1990.
By 26 February 1926
BW published her autobiographical My Apprenticeship, relating her life before her marriage.
“The Times Digital Archive 1785-2007”. Thompson Gale: The Times Digital Archive.
(26 February 1926): 8
30 April 1943
BW died at the age of eighty-seven, of kidney failure, at her house, Passfield Corner in Hampshire.
Radice, Lisanne. Beatrice and Sidney Webb: Fabian Socialists. St Martin’s Press, 1984.
321
Matthew, Henry Colin Gray, Brian Harrison, and Lawrence Goldman, editors. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Biography

When in 1929 her husand accepted a title for political reasons, BW let it be known that she would not use the title which this would confer on her, nor in any other respect behave like the wife of a peer. Mary Agnes Hamilton writes: No one at any time did call her Lady Passfield.
Hamilton, Mary Agnes. Remembering My Good Friends. Jonathan Cape, 1944.
256
The title nevertheless appears in some library catalogues.

Birth and Family